I went to Walter Reed Medical Center again - it felt good. I saw first hand that our wounded are not forgotten by those that could easily brush them off as an inconvenience or a number, if they wanted to.
A highly visible VIP was there visiting the wounded on an individual basis, talking with them and their families, without an entourage. It wasn't a publicity stunt. It was real. It was one human being showing concern for another. It was what mankind should expect of itself. It was munificent.
I also saw SPC Lopez, of whom Blackfive and I have both blogged before. Please continue to leave comments for him and his family and pray for them (if you pray). They need as much love, support, and understanding that we can send their way during this scary and confusing time for them.
First, I want to thank everyone for their supportive comments and e-mails. I haven't been able to read them without crying yet, but I know that time is coming. I am hoping to share my struggle without alienating those with the best of intentions, but that may happen. Because there was a second part to Tuesday's entry...
There's always the anger...
Over the years, through all of the thinking and the pain that comes out of rape, I really have grown to be fairly angry inside. There's no other label for it, no other expression for it, and I see no way around it, despite the toxicity that it brings to my life. Maybe it's just a stage I'm in as I learn to cope. But on the grief scale of life, there are really only a few issues that get me really fired up.
I hate, with a fiery passion, the word rape. Not for what it stands for, but for what it doesn't. In today's worldview, I wasn't raped - I was sexually assaulted. I say, no - I was raped. Does my blood mean less because fingernails and not a penis drew it? It is the same blood. Am I less violated because his penis was forced into my mouth and not between my legs? Both are a violation of the most personal kind. The socially accepted and utilized definition of rape says that my case, my pain, and my recovery aren't as difficult. The inherent judgment that I should be able to "get over it" easier, faster, and better is just salt in the wound. Even the media we use for entertainment support this idea. The girl on L&O:SVU that was "touched" is never as emotionally traumatized as the girl that was raped. From where I sleep at night, haunted by the memories, rape is rape and there is no slightly raped.
Invariably I've heard all of the "it's not your fault," "there's nothing you could have done," "you can't blame yourself." So much so that it is more than I can take. Because it isn't really support. By some, I've been painted as a victim. I am not a victim. I've looked to see what I would do differently. I've asked myself why I made the decisions I did at the time. I've replayed the night to see how something so heinous ever unfolded. I've explored how to keep myself safer in the future. I am not safer because I carry mace or a weapon, in fact, I carry neither. I am safer because I know that I have value and strength - I am empowered. A society that tells rape victims that there are just that, victims, tells them that they are weak and powerless. It takes away from them the idea that they can control their own environment and hold other people accountable for their behavior toward them. It tells women that they will forever be vulnerable, no matter what they do. It is a mentality that makes women helpless creatures that they need not be.
No woman deserves rape. No woman asks to be raped. And no woman should be labeled as, dismissed as, or relegated to being a victim because she has been raped, in any way.
No one can fix it. No one can make it go away. No one can make you forget. But people can care, and nurture, and make you feel loved. They can put their own feelings aside in the short term and make the effort to show you love in the ways you best understand it, rather than in the ways they understand to show it. They can make you feel safe. They can be selfless enough to let you be irrationally upset, without taking it personally. They can be sensitive to your wants and needs for more/less/different types of attention. They can be inconvenienced and do it gracefully. Unfortunately, these things a lot to ask of someone else ... and not many people are up to that task.
WARNING: The following is a very personal post about actual events.
On the night of January 24, 1998, America stood on the eve of Super Bowl XXXII. Football fans everywhere anxiously awaited the battle between the Denver Broncos and the Green Bay Packers.
Before that night, I was an awkward, late blooming 17 year old high school senior of the purest breed.
Since that night, no shower has ever made me feel completely clean, no heat has made me feel completely warm, no embrace has made me feel completely loved.
Eight years ago today, my innocence was stolen away from me.
In the house of a friend I trusted, with at least six other people nearby, I was trapped in rooms, pinned against walls, and molested despite my shouting at him to stay away from me. He had already hurt me, I didn't want it to happen again. He told me to be quiet when his fingernails drew blood. I spent the rest of the evening putting someone else between him and me, going room to room if need be. But that only worked for so long. He asked me if I liked it as he forced me onto a couch, kneeled on me, and made me perform fellatio on him. I locked myself in a bathroom until I thought he gave up. He tried to force me into a shower with him. I eventually slept in a room with someone else between me and the door, hoping that he would wake them by accident if he found me there. I don't remember if I slept at all. The next morning he smacked me on the ass and called me tiger.
I couldn't tell a soul back then. My friends believed it was all consentual. They winked and nudged for what felt like an eternity. I was dying inside. I don't know if it is what they really believed or what they needed to believe to get by. My grades plummetted and my parents screamed. They had taken everything from me before I broke. Curled in a ball, sobbing on the floor, about how betrayed I felt, I finally screamed back at them ... that I had been assaulted.
My mom yelled. My dad shut down. We've never discussed it again.
Now, I still can't really tell a soul. Most of my friends have never known. My relationships since then have been rocky. I've had a guy angry with me for having been assaulted. I've had a guy incapable of dealing with it. I've had a guy scream at me for being upset - my hysterics were selfish. The few friends I've told have said the obligatory apology and been done. Today, I simply can't look in the face of anyone that knows.
My life changed forever on January 24, 1998 but I don't know what night her life changed, or hers, or hers. But I'm sure there were others. I never spoke to his superiors or the police. And in my heart, I know there were others.
I walk through life feeling the stain it left behind. I hide in shadows to mask the obvious scar. I fear the pitiful looks and words that people give me. I am paranoid that people just know.
I've never found peace. I've never watched another Super Bowl.
You know, Meme of Fours ... that sounds strangely like metaphors in my head as I type this. And come to think of it, maybe these answers could be metaphors about the life of the answering blogger...
Four Jobs That I've Had:
1. Shipping & receiving at Barnes & Noble
2. Hotel front desk
3. Government affairs assistant (for a professional medical society)
4. DC Intern
Four Movies I can watch over and over again:
1. The Cutting Edge
2. The Replacements
3. Boondock Saints
Four T.V. Shows I love to watch: (note the theme here...)
1. Grey's Anatomy
Four Website's I read Daily: (it didn't say blogs...)
1. ME (DUH! comments are my friend)
3. University email
4. Fox News
Four Places I've Been on Vacation:
1. Vail, CO
2. Ensenada, Mexico
3. Tampa, FL
4. United Kingdom
Four Favorite Foods:
3. Mashed Potatoes (so long as they aren't crap)
Four places I’d rather be: (again... a theme...?)
1. In a hot tub under the palm trees and stars, with a nice drink
2. A warmer (but NOT humid) climate
3. On a secluded beach under the stars on a warm night
4. A friendly bar laughing with all my best girls
I just discovered that one of my favorite TV characters, Greg Sanders on CSI is played by an actor that shares one of my secret loves...
Eric Szmanda also likes to listen to the odd, wicked, soothing, melodic tunes of the internet radio station Groove Salad
How cool is that?
Just got off the phone with dad...
His car was broken into last night. His briefcase, gym bag, and a small duffle were all stolen. Important information about multiple aspects of his entire life, whisked away in the night ... all while his vehicle sat, accidentally unlocked, in his very own driveway.
The ironic part? Nearly every key he owned was in that car because he didn't trust them to be safe inside the house.
Those thugs really had some nerve...
As Army Wife, Blackfive, and Andi have all mentioned, we all went to Walter Reed Medical Center on Saturday to visit with wounded troops. I was able to meet with about 5 different guys and some of their family. Each visit was absolutely amazing and personally inspiring.
Chuck and Carren were incredible. They were both full of laughter and stories, showing off pictures of their kids. I secretly think they are both natural bloggers at heart. ;-)
Joey and Jayme may have been one of the toughest meetings for me. They are both doing fantastic - a living reminder of just how far hope, determination, and love can take you. They have beaten the odds on so many levels and in so many ways, but not an ounce of self-pity or bitterness about the trials that most people would feel ever makes its way to their smiling faces.
I listened on as one young, very recently wounded soldier told us about his treatment options and what his likely decision would be. He was stuck between a rock and a hard place with his choices, but he spoke of his decision so easily. For him, the choice was easy - he was going to do what it took to give his little girl the best life he could give her.
The thank you's that these guys and their families said to us though, they were tough. I went there to say thank you for what I didn't have the strength or courage to do for my country and here they were saying thank you to me? Truly inspiring...
Soldier after soldier being placed in the most difficult situation of their lives, yet they keep their hearts in the right place. Even when they have every right to be angry and selfish, they continue to serve as examples to us all with their attitude toward other and their outlook on life.
Thank you, Warriors.
Thank you, Andi, Sandra, & Blackfive.
Thank you, Fisher House, Soldiers Angels, Wounded Warrior Project, Sew Much Comfort, Any Soldier, Books for Soldiers, Homes for Our Troops.
Thank you, to all those that do what they can to make sure these men and women (and their families) know they are appreciated, loved, and most of all not forgotten.
Da Goddess, Smash, and a whole slew of people are doing everything they can to help. Looks like all those thoughts and prayers are doing their thing too. Let's keep up the words of support and do what we can to make sure Mikey and his family get through this together.
Grad studenting - Week 1:
I haven't had my super special "you - can't - graduate - until - you - take - this - class" class yet, but the class I did have this week turned out to be pretty cool. The instructor is very knowledgable AND personable. Though, I wish he had discussed blogs a little bit more (and in a little bit more favorable manner). He should prove for a good first half of the semester.
Re-interning - Week 1:
The good news ...
There is some really cool shit going on in this office
There's definitely a full day's work ready and waiting every morning
I don't think I'll ever be bored
The bad news ...
Going home early appears to be a thing of the past
Schoolwork will likely have to be left at home
I'm so F*CKING mad I could spit!
But in the interest of all involved, I can't blog about it just now.
Looks like lil ol kuntry mouse has managed to get herself back up and running again. Which explains why her phone was busy all afternoon... But I'm seriously beginning to wonder how kuntry mouse she really is if she managed to MacGyver her computer back together... But then again, sometimes addiction makes you do things you never thought you'd do.
You know, it's almost too bad though. I was so looking forward to a Coup-a-la-Redneck... Maybe we can just stage a hostile take over instead...?
I'm just kidding (mostly) - it's good to have you back online, Lady.
Tomorrow I head back to life as a grad student (Oh Joy!) and as an intern. That means I have spent my afternoon obsessively ironing clothes and fretting over which outfits make the best first impressions. You see, I will be interning in a new office this semester so I'm a little nervous about meeting the new boss. Even more so because these programs are terrible about providing adequate information prior to arrival. Oh, have I mentioned I'm not a big fan of uncertainty?
- I have no idea if the guy who called to offer me the position will be my boss. I'm getting the sinking feeling that he may not be. Mostly because I can't see them trusting an intern to work with a Deputy Director.
- I have no idea what my job function will be. Clearly my job function at the last place ended up being much different than I had expected it to be. This time, I just don't have any expectations. But if someone asks me to make coffee, get coffee, or do anything with dry cleaning ... I'm going to be pissed.
- I have no idea if my ID badge will work or if I will be able to access my computer. Especially since these aspects of my internship went so swimmingly last time...
- I have no idea how much fuss I will cause with HR tomorrow seeing as my paperwork from the last internship was never filed correctly (their error, not mine). I was not properly 'exited' from the system, it will be interesting to see what happens when they try to properly re-enter me.
What I do know is, I need to get crackin on my resume so I can line up a real job...
FYI - Army Wife Toddler Mom is still sans computer at her house...
I am sad to say, fellow Munuvian and Bear Flag Leaguer, Mad Mikey, has had a stroke.
He needs our hopes, prayers, good thoughts, and anything else positive we can send him to help him recover. Please keep Mikey on your mind as he fights to get better and his wife in your thoughts as she stays strong for him.
Da Goddess is keeping everyone updated on his condition and printing comments from her blog and Mikey's blog as support. Please go help out her efforts to keep everyone in the best spirits possible.
I thought that was schmutz on my glasses blurring my vision, but it's not. This weekend sped past so quickly that it really feels just like a giant blur. All the laughing and the bonding moments are strung together in my head as one big good time.
You see, my itty bitty postage stamp of a condo has been bustling with company since Thursday but now, suddenly, it is empty again. I'm so tempted to sleep the day away now, but I shouldn't ... (but I might ... )
Also during this great weekend, I had the opportunity to meet the lovely Miss Andi and be amazed by her in person, instead of just online. And because of her terrific heart and uncanny organization, I was able to visit Walter Reed this weekend as well. It was an amazing experience that deserves a post all its own - when I'm not deliriously sleep deprived.
Perhaps a nap will clean the blur out of this head of mine... I'll let you know on Tuesday when I finally wake up.
...the one time I clean and actually take out the trash in a timely manner ...
I have a sinking feeling that I accidentally threw away a couple of pairs of earrings in a box I got for Christmas.
In my book, all cheese is good cheese... Well, let me rephrase that a little ... all cheese sold in your grocer's dairy case is good cheese.
A good brie, an extra sharp cheddar, a soft mozzerella... MMMMMmmmm!! I love cheese.
And I just recently stumbled across a habanero cheddar that is to die for! I grated it across some hint-o-lime tortilla chips and it was late night snack spicy nacho heaven.
Do yourself a favor and go try some on nachos, on crackers, on warm bread... just go try it!!
No need to check under the hood ... I'll save you the trouble. I'm attempting to readjust my sleep schedule and I'm simply just not a morning person. An evil second only to morning, I just don't like being woken up once I have gone to sleep. Period.
I took some Tylenol PM to make myself go to sleep last night and grew frustrated as I couldn't feel it working. Finally I just crawled into bed and laid there. I have no idea how long it took me to fall asleep but within 30 mins my dad called, waking me up. I was confused and disoriented, apparently I had been out cold ... a hypothesis confirmed by the puddle of drool on my pillow.
I ended up going back to sleep, only to wrestle with anxiety for the rest of the night. Did I forget to mention that sleep aids and I don't always play nice? I took NyQuill once in college and woke up in a cold sweat, practically screaming from the panic it put me in.
After a fitful night of repeatedly waking up scared I finally got up at my prescribed (much too early) time. I was determined not to let this morning thing get in my way of a good day. Since then I've managed to get several phone calls from my arriving guest saying that her flight from NY keeps getting delayed due to our fog here. Grrr. I could have stayed in bed! And at this rate... another 4 hours too!!
Instead, I'm sitting here with my breakfast and tea trying to fight off a nasty headache. There are far too many people to see and too much fun to be had for me to get a damn migrane today.
...you know, it comes with so many great blessing and sayings. After having the occasion to bless Lil Bro RSM, I was reminded of one of my very favorites:
May those that love us, love us.
And those that don't love us,
May God turn their hearts.
And if He doesn't turn their hearts,
May He turn their ankles
So we will know them by their limping.
So, not only is the cosmetics industry making creams and scrubs meant to shrink just about damn near any part of your body ... they are also making lip gloss that is purposely designed to give you a
plump, juicy mouth fat lip. You can find it here in 6 different rediculously expensive shades!
Assuming this stuff works they way they say it does, I'd look like Angelina Jolie after she got her face stuck to the vaccuum cleaner. Hell, I don't know if I could even talk if my lips puffed up like they claim they should. Alas, I'm not going to spend $38 to find out. The right mix of genes and a childhood of pouting was all I needed to be cursed with these wonderful babies.
But you know, Ladies, it's a lot cheaper and you'll get the same effect if you just let me punch you ... or I could kick you in the face for a little change of pace. I know I'd feel better if we did things that way - you know, sticking it to the man or something... And, here's the special bonus week gift to you, if you're an annoyingly stupid chick, I'll even do it for free.
My New Years Eve entertainment recently sent me some pics of our night at the bar... According to the pictures, we never left our position at the bar ... right outside the bathrooms. wtf?
Two very important lessons were reiterated by these pictures, as well:
1. The pose you think is so super cute whilst drunk is, in fact, much less cute in the photos than you had originally thought it to be. Stop trying to be cute in photos and just be you.
2. The photo in which your arm candy is looking his most foxy will inevitably be the exact same photo in which you look like a coked out crack whore on a three day binge. Just accept it and learn to laugh about it ... because you know everyone else is already doing it.
But they are cute pics ... good reminders of a fun night on the town with a kind gentleman stranger and his friend.
Since Army Wife is still unable to blog for herself, I thought I'd share a little insight into her life this week...
I was enjoying a lovely telephone conversation with Army Wife yesterday when crying broke out on the other end of the phone. No, not her... it was little Dash. In his words, he was "having a really bad day."
Something happened to the town he was building and the poor little guy didn't know what to do. He just kept saying over and over again, "What do I do? What do I do?" And then, I heard the greatest line ever...
"What do you do? You go take care of the problem and stop acting like a Democrat..." Greatest.Line.Ever.
But there's more...
Dash did in fact rebuild his town and all was well again. The crying stopped and he was a cheerful little boy again. So what did Army Wife say?
"See, don't you feel all better now that you took care of the problem? Doesn't it feel good to be independent and self-reliant instead of depending on big government?"
BWAHAHAHA... I love the way this woman thinks...
Can we PLEASE get this douche off the news?
Sure, he can QB ... I'll give him credit for his skills ... But that's where it stops.
He's been nothing but a big basket of legal trouble for himself and for VA Tech for far too long. Not to mention a huge embarassment to his brother, Michael. I'm constantly surrounded by Hokies and every one of them has said good riddance to bad garbage since Marcus got himself kicked off the team.
And when fans care more about how much a douche you are than how they will win next seasons games, you've got to be a seriously big douche...
I mean, seriously... He gets kicked off the team, pulls this crap about 'screw - you - I'm - just - going - to - go - pro - and - then - you'll - see,' and now he's arrested for brandishing a firearm... Way to go, Fucktard... way to go...
Someone just throw this dumbass in jail for a little while and save us all the annoyance of having to change the channel everytime a new charge gets added to his record. Maybe being somebody's bitch for a few years will readjust his attitude a little bit.
I think Marcus is in for a rude awakening in the draft and the NFL... I knew a guy with exactly the same attitude once. Threatened to transfer to a rival college because coach didn't let him play his kind of ball. He eventually made it to the NFL... but he only lasted a couple of years on one team, a couple of years on another, and within six he was out ... no fame, no notoriety, no one knew who the hell he was ... Served him right.
So, to all 6 of you out there reading but not saying anything...
As I was helping The Blogless Wonder get ready to leave town, I noticed three of my T-shirts were in his laundry. Not T-shirts that I had worn that later found their way into his laundry, T-shirts that he had borrowed from my dresser and later put in his laundry. Then I noticed a sweatshirt of mine ... a pair of my socks ... my fleece...
And then I realized, if dudes are starting to steal my clothes ... my wardrobe is far too unisex and consists of far too many 'fat clothes'
I think it's time to go shopping...
She may have found her keys, but Army Wife Toddler Mom's computer is just not having it today. In fact, both her desktop and laptop are completely out of commission at the moment.
She's doing her best to get back online ASAP but ya'll are going to have to learn to live without her for a little while, I'm afraid.
More info as it comes...
... The preceding has been a public service announcement was made possible by the following ...
Being good at something is all well and good, but I have to admit... I'm a big fat schmuck for not paying attention sooner...
I was so caught up in my 'When - the - fuck - does - this - god - forsaken - evil - torturous - socially - mandated - holiday - season - bullshit - ever - end' rant, that I totally missed be awarded a Golden Thong. (Which, by the way, is totally flattering)
I knew there was a reason I kept coming back to this place... *g*
I've had some people asking, "Just what does it take to get the lovely Miss Princess Cat 'tore up'?" Well, that depends on the day. But I think they were asking what exactly I had to drink on New Years Eve. So here goes...
6 Jack & Cokes
1 Shot of Jack (I hate shots of Jack)
2 Shots of Tequila
1 Scooby Snack (it may be green, but it's yummy!)
1 Lemon Drop
3 Washington Apples (maybe 4...?)
1 Jaeger Bomb
There you have it ... my 5 hours of New Years celebration. I've been promised pics but I'm not sure the boy is going to follow through on that... we'll see ...
I didn't wake up until 1:30 this afternoon, but I feel like I didn't sleep a wink. I don't feel sick either.
This is a weird, weird day...
And I think I should finally put some clothes on. It's cold in here...
I just spent the last six hours working on Sheila to make her run a little more smoothly. Yeah, six! For a good for nothin new hard drive no less. No, I'm not an idiot... she just wouldn't cooperate.
I swear, you try to give a girl an upgrade and there's just no damn appreciation!
I'm going to bed...
Most bloggers are already well aware of the large feet I have been afflicted with. Christmas, however, brought to light just how large my hands are as well...
Dad bought me a pair of leather gloves that didn't fit. In order to better size my hand, he held his up to mine ... they were almost the same size. His hand was of course thicker than mine and his fingers slightly longer, but they were damn near the same size.
Damn ... if I were a dude, I'd most certainly be packin ...
I don't know if I should be more proud or disturbed :-/
Looks like I'm up to my old tricks again
Insomnia ... techno ... and graphic design...
I've been up half the night patching together a banner design for an old teacher of mine. It's amazing how in the zone you really can get in the middle of the night. It's been years since I've fallen into the depths of that alternate universe. That world where nothing exists but vision, movements unconciously occur out of the purest connection to inspiration, and thoughts are all that it takes to create and build something new. It was like flying through the bluest sky on a warm summer day.
But at least there was no jolt cola involved ... or else I'd be afraid I was turning into a geeky teenage gamer dude ...
Everyone always says 'everything happens for a reason' but it is rare that we ever know what that reason is. I personally find myself asking 'why?' or 'what is this for?' all of the damn time (no, not 'why me?' - that's a whole different question). The biggest things I took from my trip to Cali - despite all of the pain - were answers to two major whys that I have struggled to answer for the last couple of years.
There have been two men in my life that I can honestly say I loved differently than I have loved anyone else to come into my life. One of the common themes between them was the fact that I didn't get along with their mothers. XM2's mother used to judge me, make rude comments, and generally never gave me a chance because of the reality she wished her son were living instead of a life with me. XM3's mother never did anything to indicate she didn't like me, she just behaved badly toward me. She would refuse to talk to me, she would ignore my presence in a room, she pretended that I wasn't real. Both XM2 and XM3 told me I was imagining it all, that I should stop making myself a victim when there was no attack. Naturally it caused conflict, both relationships ended, and I was left not understanding why I had been put in those situations.
Experiencing the pain these women inflicted with their misdeeds and their sons inflicted with their abadonment of my emotions made me see nothing but injustice and well up with anger.
Now I see that they were lessons to teach me two things:
1) I do not need the world to work according to plan or for people to behave perfectly. I need those that I love to stand beside me through the painful moments. I need recognition from them that something has gone wrong. I have the strength to bear anything placed upon me, but it is much easier to smile doing it when someone else is there to touch your hand and say, "I know, I see it too."
2) How a person behaves is not always who a person is. I wanted to label XM3's mother as a selfish, rude person but I can't honestly say I believe that she is, at her core, those negative things. I can't even believe that she is malicious. She may be oblivious to how she impacts others, but she is not mean...despite how it felt in the moments I spent with her...
The pain was great, the road was long, but the lessons were learned. And I can finally stop asking myself why I was meant to experience what these women brought into my life.
I'm so bummed to find out my favorite airline has called it quits.
Guess this means paying a lot more for tickets again... Dammit!
Although it shouldn't be a surprise to anyone why, I'm headed home early from this vacation of mine. In fact, I'll be headed back to DC right directly - or in about 12 hours or so...
Regular blogging shall resume shortly - Now with a toy surprise in every box!